>> With Rochester Erotic Arts Festival right around the corner, we decided to reach out to our friends in Bewitched Burlesque Sideshow to learn a little more about what they do. The troupe is made up of Evie Delilah, Pout, Victoria Prudence, Runa, Lulu Talulah, and their kitten, Kashmere Kleopatra. Each has their own reasons for getting involved in performance art, and burlesque in specific, from being raised by circus freaks, to life long dance classes, to a desire to put together fantastical costumes. Their backgrounds are reflected in their performance, with each member choreographing their own dances, so they truly get to put themselves into each act.

Together the troupe shares the common goal of working to empower people, and women in particular. Evie Delilah tells us that as much as she loves burlesque, it isn’t always sunshine and roses. The feminist community often shames dancers because of the way Burlesque can be seen as objectifying. The same is true of people’s partners, who are a frequent reason for new dancers never take the step from interest to performance. Evie went on to say that these perspectives devalue the work that goes into a performance. There’s a lot more to a performance than going onto stage and ripping your clothes off to a beat. Dancers spend hours selecting a song, arranging the choreography, and putting together their costumes (which are often made and modified in house). The routines themselves are more than a show you’d see at a strip club. They can tell a moving story, or make a thought provoking commentary, and when done with the routes of Burlesque in mind, they are acts of body love and acceptance. All of that being said, a burlesque show is a strip tease, albeit a rigorously prepared one, so there is fun to be had. The performances radiate an oddly familiar and intimate energy. It’s silly, it’s sultry, it’s tantalizing, and most importantly it’s worth a watch. You can catch the Bewitch Burlesque Sideshow at Rochester Erotic Arts Festival in the Rochester Radisson Hotel at 7:15, on Friday, April 21st, or a little bit later at Photo City Improv where they’ll be hosting an after party; doors at 9:30, show starts at 11:00. <<